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USPS worker expected to get "Hero Award" for saving sheriff

The Wyoming County Sheriff is back to work and says he's doing well after being attacked just about a week ago. He thanked the good samaritans who stopped to help him, crediting them for saving his life.

Behind the hustle and bustle of the busiest mailing day of year there are many holiday heroes.

But one U.S. postal worker is being hailed not just for getting your mail out on time. Jack Harzynski is expected to get the Postmaster General Hero Award for saving a life, and he's pretty humble about it. "I think I was being more helpful than a hero," Harzynski told 2 On Your Side's Emily Lampa.

Harzinski, a 31 year employee with USPS, also works part-time for the Buffalo News as a district manager.

That job put him in the right place, at the right time, early Tuesday morning, December 11.

Driving along state road 238 in Wyoming County, helping a newspaper delivery crew that was short a car, Harzynski came up on what looked like a traffic stop.

"As we slowed down and drove by it," explains Harzynski, "we looked off to our left on the other side of the road and there were two men wrestling...like fighting in the snow bank."

The two men were Wyoming County Sheriff Greg Rudolph and 48 year-old Lynn Hall, of Castile.

MORE: Castile man accused of trying to kill Wyoming Co. Sheriff

The Sheriff told reporters at a press conference on Monday that he had been driving on the way into work, early December 11, when Hall started tailgating him.

"The hazard lights came on, and then I thought 'Well, this is likely a medical call. I did pull over and then he pulled ahead of me. Before I even knew it, he was at my door."

Sheriff Rudolph admits he didn't immediately recognize Hall, "He was saying something along the lines of, 'You know who I am,' something to do with his family...from protecting him from his family."

It was then that the Sheriff says he connected the dots, remembering that Hall had been in his office the day before and had applied for a pistol permit.

The confrontation on 238 turned physical.

"I knew right away that he was stronger than I was," admitted Sheriff Rudolph. "But I felt like I could out-condition him. So, my strategy very early on was to buy time."

MORE: Wyoming Co. Sheriff back to work following roadside attack

State investigations couldn't immediately tell us how much time elapsed before Harzynski drove by. 

"I looked over at the car," Sheriff Rudolph recalled for reporters, "and I said 'Help help help!' I never saw him get out."

Harzynski says he remembers finding Hall hovering over the sheriff, bearing down on him with a knife.

"I just ran towards him, lunged, grabbed him with all my might," explains Harzynski, "and got him and flipped him and turned him off and he probably went 5-6 feet in the snow bank. And I fell with him."

"That's all I needed," said Rudolph of that moment, "was that little change in dynamic."

Harzynski recalled: "The sheriff must have got up behind me and had a running start and tackled him."

Off-duty New York State Trooper, Ronald Ensminger, came by moments later and helped the sheriff get Hall handcuffed. 

"238 is a traveled road, but it is Wyoming County," said the Sheriff in hindsight. "We are rural. It's not traveled heavily and I'm just very grateful that the timing worked out. I'm very very grateful that Mr. Harzynski stopped."

New York State Police are still investigating this case. 

Harzynski tells 2 On Your Side he has been subpoenaed to appear in Wyoming County Court Tuesday morning. 

Hall is now at the Livingston County Correctional Facility with no bail; facing charges of 1st degree Attempted Murder, 1st degree attempted Assault, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon.